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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Jul 24, 2011 10:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

"I only have expert-level knowledge of European classical music and the Grateful Dead ..." and that is a great deal of worthy knowledge in my book. I have dabbled in all sorts of music - old and new, near and far, common and exotic. As far as the broad 'classical' music scene goes, I have a strong love of Early and Medieval music - I still play my vinyl of Ricercare - The ancient Music Ensemble of Zurich. I'm well versed in all of the 'heavies' from Baroque to John Cage, with preferences for Dowland, Hildegard Von Bingen, Satie, Debussey, Faure, Messiaen, Hovaness, Xenakis, Chopin and Shoenberg.

You seem to have a strong music theory background, so I'll throw this old conundrum your way . . . When the album 'The Restful Mind' by Larry Coryell (and members of Oregon) came out in '75, the first track 'Improvisation On Robert De Visee's Menuet ll', re-ignited the rumour / myth at that time, that passages of 'China Cat' were inspired by De Visee. Are you familiar with that Coryell recording, and have you any insight as to whether or not there's truth to that tale, or is it all hogwash? You may be the one to put to rest a decades old speculation.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 24, 2011 2:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

I don't think there is any direct musical connection between the de Visee and China Cat. I'm not familiar with that Coryell album but I can't see how it could change my opinion.

I think China Cat is obviously influenced by a certain contrapuntal/baroque feel - Weir said it was the only song where Jerry gave him a totally specific part to play, so it's clear Jerry was trying to create some lines that fit together in a very defined way.

I suspect people have proposed the connection because that minuet is a very commonly used teaching piece for guitar students, and as a result musical elements which are common to a large amount of Baroque music might trigger people's association. I think people are just hearing the "short-short-long" rhythmic pattern and sequential use of scale fragments.